Man jailed for attack on 'utterly defenceless and barely conscious' man in homeless hostel

The court heard Peter Quinn (52) hit the victim in the head with a metal chair over a dozen times while the man was on the ground
Man jailed for attack on 'utterly defenceless and barely conscious' man in homeless hostel

Jessica Magee

A survivor of institutional abuse who attacked a homeless man with a chair in a hostel has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Peter Quinn (52) hit a man over a dozen times in the head with a metal chair while he was on the ground. He also kicked the victim two or three times in the head and hit him in the abdomen with the man’s own crutch.

Quinn, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and production of an article during a dispute at Carmen's Hall hostel, Francis Street, Dublin City centre, on January 30th, 2020.

He has 106 previous convictions, including convictions for assault, robbery, and burglary.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Melanie Greally said although the victim had initially approached Quinn in a hostile way, the accused had responded by assaulting him in an “extremely brutal and violent manner”.

“He used a chair to strike the victim repeatedly over the head and upper body, continuing while the victim lay utterly defenceless and barely conscious on the floor,” she said.

Abuse

The court heard Quinn had spent time in numerous State institutions from the age of five and had suffered significant abuse.

Judge Greally said the injured man had not submitted a victim impact statement, but medical reports showed he had received 25 stitches to his head and five to his eyes, and also sustained severe bruising to the upper body. The victim also reported suffering flashbacks of the attack.

She said a psychiatric noted Quinn suffers from schizophrenia, exacerbated by substance abuse issues. The judge also acknowledged that Quinn had a very difficult early life and had been in and out of care settings and health facilities as a child.

She also noted a positive probation report showing Quinn was engaging with support services.

Garda Conor Kelly told Shaun Smyth BL, prosecuting, that both the accused and the victim were guests of Carmen’s Hall Hostel when an argument sprang up between them.

The court heard Quinn got a butter knife from the kitchen and went towards the victim before retreating to the women’s corridor.

CCTV footage was shown to the court showing the injured man appearing to wield his single crutch at the accused man, who grabbed a fire extinguisher and threw it at the victim, causing it to go off.

Quinn then proceeded to beat the injured party over the head with a folded-up metal chair and kicked him in the head several times. He also used the victim’s crutch to beat him in the abdomen.

Gda Kelly agreed with the defence counsel that Quinn was in a deluded state at the time of the attack and had been diagnosed with multiple and very serious psychological disorders.

Judge Greally deferred sentencing on the second charge of production of an article until June 24th.

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